A month ago I saw a video made by Chez Jorge (check his page for amazing vegan dishes) where he confidently stated that he was going to make "the best tofu you'll ever have in your life". I was sceptical but knew I had to try it.
And this is where a mild obsession began! Having tested this recipe to its limits over the last few weeks I can confirm Chez Jorge's lofty claims are indeed true.
I knew I couldn't keep this quiet. The world had to know. People had to know.
The secret that makes this tofu so crispy on the outside, while retaining its soft, chewy centre is a surprising one: you need to freeze and defrost your tofu twice before cooking it. Say what?! I was doubtful too in the beginning but hear me out.
To make the best tofu you’ll ever have, you need (serves 4):
4 tablespoons cornflour
2 spoons olive oil
5 tablespoons sesame oil
5 cloves garlic
10g fresh ginger
3 tablespoons brown sugar
60ml soy sauce
60ml rice wine (can replace it with dry white wine if needed)
15g fresh basil
sesame seeds (optional)
1. Freeze and thaw the tofu twice. I got 450g tofu and stuffed it in the freezer. The next morning I left it on the kitchen counter to thaw (it takes at least 6 hours). Then dropped it back in the freezer when it was completely soft. I took it out in the morning again and it was ready to use in the evening. You can leave it in its original packaging. The end result will look something like this:
2. Press the liquid out. Once defrosted for the second time you’ll see that the structure of your tofu changed. When you freeze the tofu the liquid inside it crystallises and expands. Then when defrosted, the ice melts but the space it took up will remain, providing a more conflex texture and drying the tofu out more effectively.
When the tofu is completely defrosted place it between two plates and rest the heaviest weight you can find on top. Leave the compressed tofu for 20-30 minutes until all the liquid has drained out.
3. Bake your tofu. Tear the tofu into bite size bits, toss it with cornflour and spread it out on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper (or nonstick reusable baking sheet if you have). Drizzle with olive oil and bake at 215C for 20-22 minutes until golden.
Before baking After baking
4. Three cup sauce. Sanbeiji ("three-cup chicken") is a popular dish in Chinese cuisine and especially popular in Taiwan. Chez Jorge beautifully adapted it for this vegan dish. To prepare the three-cup sauce, thinly slice the garlic and ginger and drop this into a non-stick pan with sesame oil over medium heat. When it starts to brown add the sugar, soy sauce and rice wine. After a few minutes the mixture will start to thicken. Drop the baked tofu into the sticky sauce and mix it thoroughly until every piece is covered.
Finish the dish with chopped basil and sesame seeds (seeds are great for fibre, healthy fats, vitamins, antioxidants and minerals).
Final thoughts. When I made this, the tofu came out so crispy and delicious! We couldn't stop eating it. Now I always keep some twice frozen-thawed tofu in the freezer so I can prepare it for dinner anytime I crave it.
Is not just an amazing friend of mine, but also an expert in All things Vegan, she is also passionate about the environment and sustainability issues. Follow her on social media to find out more: @so_so_plastic